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Thread: Losing the territorial advantage

  1. #1
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Losing the territorial advantage

    It just struck me, upon thinking of someone I know who teaches English as a non-native, that the pandemic really screwed them over because they have lost their territorial advantage. Basically, if you can't find a native teacher in your city that is available and willing to accept your rates, you can get them elsewhere. After all, it's all online. This is bad news for people who have actually studied years to acquire the teaching skills they have, only to be replaced by natives who are for the most part playing it by ear (I say this as someone who taught English for 7 years).

    I was thinking this must have happened to a lot of professions. Outsourcing to other countries is not a new thing, but it must have gotten a huge boost this past year. Has it happened in your field? Are employers seeking people outside the country/city that for some reason or other are cancelling your territorial advantage?
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    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    It's happening in my man's field. His company expanded the "local territory" to include all of Latin America. So they can assign Latin American employees and contractors to projects for less cost than US-based employees and contractors.

    They haven't done away with the US folks entirely, and his work still seems pretty secure - he's still in demand for projects - but some people have been let go and others are starting to jump ship.

  3. #3
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeresaJ View Post
    It's happening in my man's field.
    What field is it?
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  4. #4
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    What field is it?
    Cell phone network engineering.

  5. #5
    chaotic neutral shitpost jigglypuff's Avatar
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    i'm not sure, but i'm in a region that i think comes with a pretty significant territorial advantage, esp in entertainment/media. with remote work becoming normalized, i'm not seeing how it's important to stay in this city anymore and we're looking to move (this year, if everything goes ok) mostly for lifestyle reasons.

    as a freelancer this past year i've been working with clients and talking with potential clients in very different industries and i haven't decided to specialize in any one industry yet (we'll see how this next year goes). i don't see myself specializing in design for entertainment and i can't physically navigate and travel around los angeles anyway. working from home has allowed me to work with an LA client (entertainment) though and it has been really great to not have to travel on-site. i've been working with another client in a different timezone of the US, in an area that seems related to the education and DEI space (??? idk how exactly to categorize them) and i imagine if i have a territorial advantage there, it's particular to educational/institutional/corporate settings in the US and canada since there's this particular design-speak "language" that's used.

    in my experience, a lot of companies still want you to be based in their city cuz there's an expectation that "soon" you'll be going in to work, but i'm thinking about how i can possibly specialize and focus on remote work because travel has always been a significant barrier for me. i imagine people like me may "cancel" another's territorial advantage, but idk. it's still a possibility that everyone will "get back to work soon" and things will "go back to normal" (!!). (i have no idea what's happening)
    chatting on discord

  6. #6
    Now we know... ACow's Avatar
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    the large corporations I've dealt with in Australia already had a relatively large practice of trying to outsource all backend operations: I think we had teams in the Philippines, India (where I first picked up the phrase "do the needful"), Malaysia and China (chengdu specifically). If anything my impression from the pandemic is that the underlying student market disruption has led to major flow in effects: university is being reformed, everyone became food mules for uber eats and the yellow bike Chinese equivalent, and we've started to have labour shortages in farms and rural areas without backpackers, while other businesses are simultaneously shutting because of no tourists.

    if anything, some manufacturing was talking about upticks in business, because Australia had already outsourced so much about it, and we don't have the same wages for developers or subsequently social status for tech.

  7. #7
    Senior Member jyng1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    Has it happened in your field? Are employers seeking people outside the country/city that for some reason or other are cancelling your territorial advantage?

    Nope. We do employ a lot of South Africans and Indians because we can't get enough locals (or they're excluded because they have a criminal record).

    It was a growth industry when we had a centre right government, but the current centre left mob are downsizing as much as they can (not much).

  8. #8
    Ieilaelite pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    Maybe you guys can lobby the government to introduce some licensing laws or something like that for the sole purpose of keeping the poors from competing with you.

  9. #9
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    Kinda. From San Francisco to Austin & Montreal. Slightly cheaper tech headcount at equivalent level of talent.

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